10 Best Beaches to Go in Santa Barbara

Share on Pinterest
Share with your friends


Santa Barbara Beach
Source: Louise Palanker

Santa Barbara has become one of the most frequented destinations. Its extraordinary countryside with great Santa Ynez Mountains stretching along the ocean coast makes such variety and beauty that millions of tourists dream of. There are beaches perfect for picnics, walking and watching sunsets and there are others perfect for swimming and various water activities. We hope to help you find some of the best ones in Santa Barbara and nearby areas in the county.

1. East Beach

This great beach is a part of the public park with wonderful California sunsets and perfect surroundings. Leave the park and enter a serene coast welcoming you with its smooth waves and offering an enjoyable swimming location perfect for the whole family. After you’ve had enough swimming, you can go on a picnic, play volleyball on one of the many courts, take your children to the playground, or just enjoy the beautiful views. When you get hungry, you don’t have to go too far; there is a nice restaurant at the beach offering fine food and drinks. If you like, you can rent a bike and ride along the bike path that extends along other city beaches.


  • Name: East Beach
  • Address: 1118 E Cabrillo Blvd Santa Barbara, CA 93103
  • Activities: Volleyball, Biking, Sunbathing, Walking, Running, Skating, Picnicking
  • Amenities: Paved Bike Path, Skate Park, Picnic Tables, Restrooms, Kids Play Area
  • Pet Policy: No Dogs Allowed on the Beach

2. West Beach

This is one of the most popular beaches in Santa Barbara. Easy to get to it is located between the famous Stearns Wharf and the Harbor, and is one of the most charming sandy beaches, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, kayaking and windsurfing. The beach offers great beach volleyball courts and a wide bike and walking path. Near the beach, there are two great pools and a wonderful playground for the kids. Enjoy under the magnificent big palm trees or choose your favorite activity at this family-friendly beach.


  • Name: West Beach
  • Address: State St and W Cabrillo Blvd Santa Barbara, CA 93103
  • Activities: Biking, Skating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Rowing, Windsurfing, Boating
  • Amenities: Pier, Volleyball Courts, Paved Bike Path, Skatepark, Grass Park
  • Pet Policy: No Dogs Allowed on the Beach

3. Leadbetter Beach

This family-friendly, long, sandy beach attracts a lot of tourists and it is usually a bit crowded. It is a great place to go swimming or just relax on the beach, or have a picnic at one of the barbecue and picnic sites. Just a simple walk along this beach makes a great experience. When you are hungry, or want a good ice cream there is a beach café nearby. One of the reasons it is crowded is the fact that different amenities are just within a short walk distance, and there are lots of restrooms and showers. It is also very popular with surfers and sailboats, especially the beginners.


  • Name: Leadbetter Beach
  • Address: 801 Shoreline Dr Santa Barbara, CA 93109
  • Activities: Sunbathing, Kiteboarding, Windsurfing, Surfing, Sailing, Walking, Jogging
  • Amenities: Restrooms, Showers, Lifeguard, Grass Park, Picnic Tables
  • Pet Policy: No Dogs Allowed on the Beach

4. Santa Claus Beach

Beautiful white sand and endless shores of this beach will immediately draw your attention. It is simply breathtaking offering the wonderful views of Santa Barbara city and the great mountains. Probably the best place for swimmers to enjoy the day because it is not crowded as the other beaches. The water is the cleanest in the area, so you can swim and dive around worry free.  In case you get hungry, there are plenty of some nice restaurants at a walking distance where you can sit at picnic tables and your kids can play close to you. There is a nice playground near with big slides, swings and grassy areas. Great for bodyboarders and surfers.


  • Name: Santa Claus Beach
  • Address: Santa Claus Ln, Carpinteria, CA 93013
  • Activities: Sunbathing, Food & Drinks, Picnic

5. Butterfly Beach

This great beach is a true representative of the highly regarded beauty of Santa Rosa County. It is peaceful, perfect for families or couples. What makes this beach special is a narrow stretch of white sand which at high tide becomes quickly covered by water. It is dog friendly and not overcrowded maybe because there are no any facilities, but this is what makes it perfect for you if you want to avoid all the typical beach stuff. No matter what the season is, you can enjoy wonderful sunsets from here.


  • Name: Butterfly Beach
  • Address: Butterfly Beach, Montecito, CA 93108
  • Activities: Sunbathing, Relaxing
  • Pet Policy: Dogs Allowed

6. Arroyo Burro Beach

This is one of the greatest swimming beaches in Santa Barbara with the open shore. It is beautiful and the sand is very pleasant and soft. The beach is dog friendly, though it is good not only for your dogs, but also for families and surfers. Take your umbrella, blanket and some snacks and enjoy your day having fun. The beach features great grassy places with barbecue grills and picnic tables, and a snack bar.


  • Name: Arroyo Burro Beach
  • Address 2981 Cliff Drive Santa Barbara, CA 93109
  • Amenities: Lifeguard, Restrooms, Picnic Tables, BBQs, Grass Park, Restaurant
  • Pet Policy: Dogs Allowed off Leash

7. More Mesa Beach 

This secluded, narrow beach is next to More Mesa Park, but the cliffs separate them. You have to go down the stairs behind the cliffs to get to it. The beach consists of two parts, one which is clothing optional and one which is not. The nude beach is on the right side of the stairs. But if you choose to go there, you should be careful, because sometimes there are complaints about nudity, so maybe it is better to keep your clothes on! Otherwise, this is a very popular beach with soft white sand, but no facilities. It is good for swimming, sunbathing and surfing as well as for playing volleyball or jogging.


  • Name: More Mesa Beach
  • Address: 1095 Mockingbird Ln Santa Barbara, CA 93110
  • Amenities: Trails
  • Facilities: No
  • Pet Policy: Dogs allowed off Leash

8. Refugio Beach

This is probably one of the smallest but most scenic beaches with wonderful palm trees all around. The rocks form the cove here, so the beach is actually a true refuge from heavy waves. If you like camping on the beach, choose this one. There is a great campground, perfect to come to with friends or family for a barbecue day and lot of fun. You can enjoy spear fishing and snorkeling at the nearby reefs or kayaking and fishing if you like. Or you can just go walking along the attractive trails. Beach wheelchairs are available.


  • Name: Refugio Beach
  • Address: Refugio SB, 10 Refugio Beach Road, Goleta CA 93117
  • Activities: Sunbathing, camping, fishing, snorkeling

9. Mesa Lane Beach

This narrow beach is wide enough only at low tides when it offers a beautiful place for sunbathing, swimming and beach sports. In order to get there, you have to walk down steep stairs, but it’s worth the effort. The view from the top is amazing. The beach is perfect for couples and families and their dogs, too. This is also one of the nice places for surfers and tide pooling lovers.


  • Name: Mesa Lane Steps
  • Address: 2341 Edgewater Way Santa Barbara, CA 93109
  • Amenities: Tide Pools
  • Facilities: No
  • Pet Policy: Dogs allowed off Leash

10. Shoreline Park Beach

This beautiful small beach is located below the Shoreline Park and you can get to it walking down the stairs. The view from the top of the stairs is breathtaking and it is a perfect place for whale watching, too.  The beach is nested in a secluded area which is really pleasant when the tide is low. Some parts of it are sandy, some are rocky and steep cliffs at the back form walls pitted with coves interesting to explore. After enjoying some time at the beach, you can walk up the stairs and spend some great time in the park, have a picnic, walk or relax watching the kids play in the play area.


  • Name: Shoreline Park Beach
  • Address: Shoreline Dr and San Nicolas Ave Santa Barbara, CA 93109
  • Activities: Walking, Whale Watching, Picnicking, Beach Exploration, Tide pooling
  • Amenities: Restrooms, Kids Play Area, Grass Park, Benches, Picnic Tables, BBQs
  • Pet Policy: Dogs Allowed off Leash on the Beach and on Leash in the Park

From the delightful hillsides with memorable panoramic views of the sea to the unspoiled and gorgeous shoreline, Santa Barbara boasts the exceptional beauty inviting you to come and enjoy all it has to offer.

Have a good trip and travel!

Share on Pinterest
Share with your friends

North America, Santa Barbara County, State of California, U.S.A.